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November Newbie - CD4 below 100

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isnt-it-aaronic:
Hi Everyone,

I'm Eron, 26 years old. Diagnosed 9th of November.

Here's how I found out about my status:

On October 2, I went to see my gastro doctor to complain about a week-old (maybe even two) diarrhea. I had previous hyperacidity issues and was worried it might have escalated to some type of ulcer. He did the usual drill - CBC, fecalysis, urinalysis etc. - all came back normal. So I was prescribed with a stroger antacid and something for the stool and was asked to come back.

I felt better after taking the meds, and the quality of the stool improved. I follow a pretty hectic schedule, juggling work and the university (getting a second bachelor's degree) and missed to come back for follow-up.

After a week of comfort, the diarrhea came back. With end of semester workload, I tried to remedy on my own and took the same meds I was prescribed during my previous visit . They did nothing this time. My colleagues and classmates have started to comment about my weight loss, but I only attributed it to lack of sleep, etc.

On November 6 (still with the diarrhea), I went to see another gastro doctor and told him that the diarrhea has now lasted for a month. He looked alarmed and asked if I was sexually active, and I said no. (Last had sex with a French guy during a holiday in Thailand April this year). The doctor then ordered a full body work-up etc.

What he asked bothered me because I did have instances of unprotected sex back in 2009 with an Irish ex-boyfriend who I have lost contact with. After torturing myself for 2 days about whether or not to go for an HIV test, I did on November 9 (Friday) and the results came back positive.

It was, like what I read from most people, like a nightmare. I thought about my younger brother (we are Mom-less, and our father has re-married and now has a new family), I thought about the scholarship in Australia I'm supposed to get but maybe not anymore, how much time I had left. I never thought I could think of so many things all at once. The first person I told was my best friend.

Didn't waste anymore time, made myself more literate during the weekend then Monday came and I was at the hospital ready to get my CD4 count and all the other tests. After a few hours, the results came back and my count was a whooooping 45! That shook the hell out me, I tell ya.

I was prescribed Azithromycin (1250 mg tabs weekly) and Co-trimoxazole (800 mg daily). Doctor said they couldn't begin with the ARV treatment until they find out if I have any infections. Aside from the diarrhea (and the weight loss), I really didn't have any complaints. No fever, no lesions, no colds, coughing, etc.)

The PPD skin test came back negative too, and what I'm waiting for now is for the Sputum test results to come out (probably Thursday or Friday this week). I don't know if there are other tests, but I'm hoping to get started on ARV treatment soon

Since taking the prophylaxis meds, the diarrhea's gone and my appetite has tripled. I find myself eating (trying out balanced meals) every 3 or 4 hours. No complaints or anything. In fact, I feel great. During this waiting period, I get enough sleep - that is when I am not eating!

I've been back to work since Thursday last week. Have asked permission from my professors to go on a medical leave so as not to overexert myself.

Two things I find ironic about the whole situation is:
1. I am writing a thesis about HIV/AIDS in the Media
2. I got in touch with my Irish ex-boyfriend via e-mail. Confirmed he's positive but didn't know so when we were together - I didn't get mad a little, in fact I think I'm thankful I told him. He's been great.

I've forgiven myself. I just look forward to starting HAART soon.
Can you guys help me with what questions to ask my ID when I go see him this week?
What other tests should I request for?

Thanks everyone!

Anqueetas:
Next appointment, you should probably do a viral load test. Maybe you already did, to determine how much virus is in your blood.

You might want to ask about Meds options and you probably want to think this through, there are several option, each have its own pro and con.

What I will recommend is when you immune system is stronger again, you might what to revaccinate several of essential vaccine, you can discuss that with your doctor such as:Hepatitis A/B, Td  and others that you might need or at risk.

Cheers and keep going.

Hideyoshi:
You should get tested to see if you have any STD's including chlamydia syphilis gonorrhea  hepatitis B and C.

Hideyoshi:

--- Quote from: isnt-it-aaronic on November 21, 2012, 12:12:41 PM --- I don't know if there are other tests, but I'm hoping to get started on ARV treatment soon


--- End quote ---
There will be a couple of test done to better understand the hiv virus in your body. This will include getting info on  the viral load, CD4 count, CD4 percentage and to see if your body has any immunity to any medication. It looks like you have your CD4 count test done. But based on these test results your doctor will then recommend a treatment option for you so hopefully you will be able to start ARV treatment right after these are done. Atripla seems to be the most common one used which is a once a day tablet taken at night. This is a very effective drug and I hope everything works out well for you.

P.S.
Also feel free to pm me anytime if you have any Questions about anything or post your Questions in this forum. For some people knowledge and a better understanding of everything going on can really help you cope with things. There is no such thing as a dumb Question and i truly believe that.

tednlou2:
Eron, I'm sorry to hear about your diagnosis, but I'm glad you found this site.  I wish you all the best as you navigate your way through all this.  I do think for many of us, the diagnosis wasn't a total surprise, but it doesn't make it any less of a traumatic shock. 

I am confused by the docs not wanting to start you on ARV's, because they need to "check for infections" first.  Now, admittedly, I'm still learning about all things HIV some four years into my diagnosis.  Many poz patients have infections and are put on meds, in order to help the body fight those infections.  Perhaps, they meant they wanted to do a genotype of your virus to make sure what HIV meds may not work for you, before putting you on something that wouldn't work??  Again, I could be wrong and may learn something about how your docs are actually correct. 

Again, all the best.  I'll look forward to hearing more from you.

Ted

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